Some think that people with certain disabilities are limited in what they’re capable of achieving, but 21-year-old Luba Kanter – who was born with only one hand – says she fought to prove the skeptics wrong since she was a child.
"Before I was born, my parents decided not to have any tests done, thinking they would have a son,” she says. “But then, I was born. A daughter without one hand. I think the fact that I don't have a hand makes me more motivated than others."
Kanter was born in Moscow and immigrated to Israel when she was 11 years old and has been living in Jerusalem ever since.
"When I was young, I always thought to myself, why me? I thought about this millions of times. I was often embarrassed by the fact that I didn't have one hand. I’d wear sweatshirts even when I’d go out to the beach, when it was very hot outside.”
Kanter dreamed of dancing her whole life, and last year, she decided to pursue that dream and chose a challenging form of dance: pole dancing.
She approached Gili Cohen, a pole dancing and fitness instructor and owner of Gili Cohen Pole Dance & Fitness Studio in Ramat Gan, who agreed to take her as a student.
"Pole dancing requires a lot of grip strength, and almost every move requires the use of both hands," Cohen explains. "We have to overcome the fact that Luba had only one hand."
Ever since she took up dancing, Kanter is much more accepting of her body. "In the past, I would have never posted a picture to social media showing that I only have one hand," she says.
"Dancing has helped me come out of my shell: I started posting pictures and videos of myself dancing with one hand and I see a beauty in it I never saw before. I used to see having only one hand as something ugly, but now I think my missing hand is beautiful."
Kanter adds that even if she had the opportunity, she wouldn’t want to have her missing hand back. “My missing hand is a part of me. If I suddenly had another one, I think I’d find it odd.”